Covid-19: We can get through this together

Never before has the chemical industry’s role in protecting human health been more pronounced and I am confident that we are well equipped to meet the challenges that may come our way, comments Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun

Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun is the secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). Set up in March 2006, GPCA is a dedicated non-profit association, serving its members with industry data and information sources.
Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun is the secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). Set up in March 2006, GPCA is a dedicated non-profit association, serving its members with industry data and information sources.

The coronavirus crisis is a human tragedy of an unprecedented scale, amounting to a global health crisis that has brought the world to a halt and caused the untimely loss of tens of thousands of lives across the world. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has lost a loved one to the virus and to the thousands of people in hospitals fighting for their lives, as well as all the doctors, nurses and medical staff on the frontline who put their own lives at risk to save others.

Swift actions
The virus has dealt a never-before-seen damage to the world economy, businesses and industries of all kind, as strict measures are being put in place to ensure the spread of virus is contained and the curve of new cases flattened.

We are yet to know the real scale of the damage as the true repercussions of the crisis will become clearer with time, but for now our focus is to fight this battle together. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all Arabian Gulf leaders for introducing swift measures, which will undoubtedly play a key role in containing the virus and saving lives further down the line, and to the chemical industry in the region for their cooperation and swift actions.

The industry’s response
I would like to welcome the rapid and adequate response of our member companies in the region and across the globe to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of their communities and employees all over the world – and encourage everyone to do the same.

The chemical industry now has an important responsibility to ensure vital supplies are delivered in a timely and reliable manner to help combat the virus and maintain an uninterrupted supply of the personal hygiene and household products we all need to stay healthy and safe.

From providing key raw materials to produce hand sanitisers to finished product itself, to medicine and medical supplies, polymers such as polypropylene (PP) are urgently needed for key personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, surgical gowns and antibacterial wipes; polyethylene (PE) for food and equipment packaging to prolong the shelf life of products; chlorine bleach for disinfectants and surfactants for soaps and other cleaning products, etc.

What is also worth commending is the funds donated to help abate the crisis at its outbreak in China and the tens of new production facilities set up across Europe and US to manufacture hand sanitisers, most of which are donated for free to hospitals and health institutions.

Time for collaboration
In times of crisis, we should always look on the bright side as it is times like these that bring us closer together and provide us with an opportunity to collaborate, exchange lessons learned and maximise our efforts to achieve better impact. It is also important to remember that we cannot fight on our own and that everyone has a role to play – from citizens to individuals at all levels of society, to companies, governments and organisations across the board.

I would like to call upon everyone reading this message to follow the instructions in place in order to help save lives. We are all in this together, and I am confident that we can survive this hardship too, united by our shared values of humanity, strong work ethics, serving our customers, following best practice and putting health and safety at the heart of everything we do. Building on the lessons learned in order to strengthen our response, our resilience and develop future capabilities will also be key.

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